2/28/10

The Show Must Go On

"When I heard the news I was still shocked. I went to the hospital. I saw her body and that’s when I told everyone at Skate Canada I would skate. I think just the fact I said it, it was like no turning back, I had to do it. There was a moment (I went through lots of ups and downs) there were some moments where I just wanted to go home, take the first plane and see my family and friends at home…but I knew that’s what my Mom would want me to do, to compete because this is my dream. And in 10 years from now, I knew that if I wouldn’t have skated here, I would have regrets so that’s why I did it." ~Joannie Rochette

I am reminded of standing in the room with my Mother after she passed. I’m not sure how to describe the feeling of being with a soulless body. The visual representation of the body is much like looking through Mom’s belongings and photos. It’s familiar to you, but there is nobody there. It was when I became absolutely convinced we have souls. The room was absent of life in a very surreal way and so while seeing her dead body was upsetting, I remember telling my sister, "She’s not here." After all, a person is not their flesh and bone. I left not long after because really, there was no reason to stay. Mom left her body there, so I felt I should too.

For Joannie, she heard about the passing of her Mother in Vancouver and ended up skating two days later and then again on Thursday night to take a very courageous Bronze Medal. I don’t claim to know how she felt standing in that room as I was prepared for Mom to leave us whereas she wasn’t, but I do wonder if Joannie was also aware that her Mom was not there but somewhere above her and with her. For this, I can understand why she could have felt closer to her Mom on the ice than that hospital much like I feel closer to Mom at the piano.

Her quote above was an interview where the one thing that really popped out to me was when she said, "I think just the fact I said it, it was like no turning back, I had to do it."

Much of my life, I would keep what I was doing a secret so that if I decided not to do it, I could back out. It’s a safety net. In fact, I wouldn’t even proclaim it to myself so as not to disappoint ME! I am sure that for Joannie the proclamation meant she had to go forward.

Her heart is a good point of inspiration. In a traumatic time, she was faced with many decisions. She said she would skate and she moved ahead but proclamations are a good way to be definitive and they actually assist a bad situation. The term we are familiar with is "Executive decision". It’s when a bunch of people can’t make a decision and someone stands up and says, "This is what has to happen." I admire these people because while I’m not into dictatorship, I do think wishy-washy doesn’t fly very well in times of extreme shock. Much like when my Doctor met me in the halls and asked if the Eye Bank could use Mom’s eyes and how time-sensitive it was, I had to rifle through a series of emotions including questions about whether a cancer patient could even donate them. Being decisive not only saves time, but it is a pledge, a commitment and keeps an orderly and natural flow to the bad things that happen to us. So for the nay-sayers who suggest Joannie was selfish in wanting a medal and that’s why she did it, I think it’s time to add the human soul element into the one-dimensional thought process, because a much deeper, much larger picture is being missed.

For all of you who are sitting on the fence about some big decision you have to make, I encourage you to make a choice….a proclamation. Even if it’s just writing it down on paper, being definitive to others around you and to yourself tends to cut the time down immensely and the time period of suffering shortens. This doesn’t mean we don’t require a certain amount of thinking time when allowed and that a grieving process won’t happen. It also doesn’t mean there won’t be hurdles along the way, but the time up until the executive decision is perhaps time frittered away when we are being pulled in a very intuitive direction that we are ignoring because we are fearful. In some cases, the lack of a decision (especially one like Joannie’s which is so good for her soul) can keep us in chains and shackled to regret…which in my opinion is worse than the situation we are faced with. Regret is one of the nastiest emotions of all. Imagine how enlightened this girl is to know that she faced the potential of facing this regret in 10 years time. Amazing spirit!

ROCK ON my friends,
Karen :)

"Inside my heart is breaking, my make-up may be flaking but my smile still stays on." ~Freddie Mercury (Show Must Go On)

2/26/10

Action is the Antidote to Despair

Before reading this, I hope you will understand that I get many questions about dealing with Depression NOT because I am an expert. I get questions because I am in the seemingly successful process of pulling out from it.

Nothing I ever say on here has a title after my name and should not be a replacement for seeking professional help. I just am sharing what works for me and really, this is a broad stroke.


This is my response to one of our friends on here. I invite you to add your thoughts if you are also seeing success.


I don’t name names, but the basic background is he is someone who battles depression, has an artistic side with creative aspirations but faces hurdles with location, money etc. He’s also dealing with a divorce and unemployment. At the end of his email where he asked for advice he said, "im just so tired of feeling like im not "living" my life, that im just here goin from 1 day to the next without any purpose..."


Here is my response;


No worries, I have felt all of that and some to spare, so I can relate.


To simplify some advice (only because I wished others would have given me less complicated advice)


1. Making lists. I still do them...I make them every night, leave them in the living room and go make my sleep sacred.


2. While I am at it, eat healthy and drink a lot of water. Making your body a sacred temple will gear up your brain to start thinking, same with running.


3. You mentioned purpose and not feeling like you had one? I confused the terms purpose and goals for years. They mean two different things, I realized. Having a purpose doesn't usually equate to making money...it means being open to where you are needed. Having goals I feel is back to the lists I mentioned. The thing you want to accomplish.


4. Separate the days from your life. In other words, only try and accomplish what you need to today, make a list at bedtime what you will accomplish tomorrow and worry about tomorrow tomorrow.


5. Showers; I am sure my water bill went up during depression. They saved my life and at times I took many in the same day. lol


6. Passion vs Work; I quit putting pressure on my art to make me money. I did the jobs I had to to make a living and kept the art pure. Too many artistic people are falling into depression because they NEED the art to make them money. View it as being unfair to the art.


7. Learn computer skills while you aren't working. I believe America will get back on its feet by everyone starting their own business. If there are no jobs out there, you have to make one. Website design, flash animation, building apps etc are all the rock stars of this generation.


8. Forgive yourself. Beating yourself up, leaves you...well...defenseless.


I should add that any of those points can have substitutes for other things that a person is passionate about (ie web design is just an example) Some points assist with Depression while some points just keep your mind active in the meanwhile.


Karen :)


A quote I live by; "Action is the antidote to despair." ~Joan Baez


I also want to note that many people apologize for asking for help and advice and I encourage you to never feel like your mental health is a burden to anyone. People who love you and care about you will feel honored you came to them. :) There are some GREAT people on here who have helped me immensely!

2/23/10

GRIT

Persistence, determination, diligence, willpower…these are the current words I have on sticky notes around me. I keep sticky notes with things or character traits that I strive for. If I don’t have it, I write the word then I at least own the word in ink on paper. ;)

It was Albert Einstein who said, "It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer." Well, any of us who barely got 50% in Math and Science know that this guy wasn’t just about staying with problems longer. He was definitely gifted…and smart. But, maybe what made him smart was he knew the smartest path to something was by staying with it longer. So yeah, whether gifted or learned I’d rather take his advice than most people I have done business with.

Typically, I have always been about getting information from the source. I don’t necessarily believe what they tell me on TV, in church or emails from friends. My belief system bypasses all the churches and goes back thousands of years. I like some of what they say and wonder about the rest. I tend to think rather than follow. I don’t go after the advice of a current day musician but rather I go back to a time when I felt the miracles in music. Every book I pick up I realize that the person writing it is stating their opinion. In most cases, I’m an infomaniac (rub your eyes and read that correctly without an n) which means I collect the thoughts of people from way back in history, pick up tidbits of info since then that make sense to me and throw my own experiences in and that’s the make-up of me. But I realize, he also said "Information is not knowledge." and that, "The only source of knowledge is experience." I stay wide-eyed to new things and try very hard not to judge people which I fail at often. All in all, I’m not trying to be smart or right. I’m not even looking for contentment or happiness. I’m somewhere else altogether.

For some reason, Albert Einstein rises to the top with me. I feel a sense of balance from someone who didn’t have a balanced life. I don’t put someone at the top because they don’t have screw-ups, I put them there when I feel they have truly lived. But more than anything he possessed one amazing thing; GRIT.

Grit is the new word I have on paper. It’s the throat Janis Joplin had and it’s the skin surface I see from Einstein. Grit is when I can see the story of someone’s life in the lines of their face and when I look at a pair of hands and see labor. Grit allows you to be deliberate in action without the opinions of others. Grit is when you have more ideas than time. Grit is wisdom from experience and street smarts. It’s not knowing everything but it means you have touched fire, been burned, have the scars and continue on with your chin up. Grit is the dust your horse kicks up in your face when you ride and you welcome it without caring how you look. Grit is a force-field that allows you to stand like your feet are in cement blocks during a hurricane. It’s perhaps the most beautiful characteristic I could ever imagine in another human being. Grit is a feature of a warrior, not just a breakfast item in the south. Ha!

I’ve met so many of you lately who are sad, depressed, lonely, scared. I see myself in you. Even though I hate that any of you feel this way, I have a special bond with you and you are forming your callous, your grit. You are preparing your spirit and mind for greatness. I know this! Those who stay with problems longer are overwhelmed and maybe feel like giving up but it’s an indescribable beauty that you possess. I feel like our community here has something very special and unique. These are people who maybe don’t feel smart, don’t feel worthy, don’t know what the future holds and yet the grit is not a faux finish. It’s a bouquet of brilliance and a plethora of knowledge. You are either here looking for answers from each other or have the unique capability of sharing your grit with those who don’t necessarily need the advice, but need to feel like they aren’t alone in it all. I don’t completely understand how we all came together like pieces to a puzzle, but it’s so rare you see so many people interact in the spirit of love and tolerance who aren’t PRISSY!!! Pretty rad, don’tcha think? :)

Grit, one more layer of it with each storm…

Much love on you!
Karen :)

I’ve quoted him probably more than any other person, always looking to see what I can get from him but I am reminded, "The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive."

2/21/10

I Heard you Singing in the Shower

My shower singing is nothing like the music I normally write and record. I mean, I do come up with melodies in there if I happen to be working on something at the time but generally speaking, I’m whistling the Super Mario Brothers Theme Song, doing my Muppet Show impersonations with the beat box theme song under it or acting like the bad-ass announcer at the beginning of the A-Team TV show. This is just another way to wash the dirt from my soul. I will now make my semi-arrogant statement, pompously suggesting any of you will ask the question, "Can we get a recording of that?" The answer is; NO! NO WAY! lol!

Some days, it’s Mongolian Karkhiraa (that’s like throat chanting…hahaha) but today when I grabbed a shower, I decided I was a mixed choir (my baritone needs work) Do you know how ridiculous it is trying to do all the parts? Well, let’s say I do it for the silliness…nothing good can come of that. :)

After finishing my shower, I took the garbage out and ran into a neighbor who said, "I heard you singing in the shower from outside". Guess the old window in my shower should have muffled my surprise. Well, I knew it sounded awful, it’s not meant to be serious. I said, "Oh?" Then she says to me, "Yes, I think everyone heard it." THE END.

Well, I wasn’t expecting to be showered with compliments (pun absolutely intended) but I did walk away slightly stung. As I was walking back into my apartment, I closed the door, zipped my garbage container against the wall, flung myself on the sofa and laughed uncontrollably until tears poured down my face. I felt triumphant. This wasn’t the first time people have heard me louder than appropriate for my surroundings. :)

You see my triumph came from freedom. Freedom is where we feel like the winners. Freedom is where our soul can roam around our bodies and explore the world around us. I always thought freedom was back-packing across some random country, but I found it today in a different place. I made horrible noises in the shower and I didn’t once think of anyone around me. Call it inconsiderate if you must, but it wasn’t like that. I see it more like exorcising old demons (not in a pastoral smack of the forehead kind of way) but I was cleansing my poor brain that has more ideas than time and more thoughts than allocation in my head. My victory laugh was for me. Today I feel marks the end of a terrible long-term war that I have been waging against myself. I’m not saying the depression won’t ever come back, but I feel like the troops are definitely holding it at bay.

HA! I just had another revelation! I just wrote "my depression" and switched it to "the depression". I don’t want ownership of that beast anymore. ;)

GO SING HORRIBLY IN THE SHOWER! You know you want to…
Karen :)

"Every human has four endowments- self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom... the power to choose, to respond, to change." ~Stephen Covey

2/19/10

Define "so-so"

Many people from my childhood have crept back into my world because of Facebook. Some are good, some not so much, "click-click, delete!" lol I don’t even mind hearing how an old ex from high school is doing so long as they don’t try and pick up where they left off! ;P

I’ve been thinking about a message from a friend on there (I’m not mentioning her name, but she knows I am writing this—I hate shocking people with topics about them…) I asked her how she was doing. Her message back was something like, "I’m doing good, I am married to a guy who makes 6 figures and my daughter just landed an acting role and my son made the College basketball team…." ..and a bunch of other things going on AROUND her.

I thought I’d mess with her a bit, so I said, "So, your family is doing good. How are YOU doing?"
The rest of the conversation went something like,
She said, "Me, oh I am not doing very much."
Me; "That’s ok, I didn’t ask WHAT you were doing."
Her response; "Oh, so-so."
Me; "Define so-so."

So I don’t bore you with rambling dialogue, my assessment was that she wasn’t doing good at all. She didn’t need money and her children were well on their way to a great career start. It turned out she had spent her life parenting them (and a good job too, I might add…they seem like great kids) but she was suffering from a bit of empty nest syndrome coupled with no acquired skills outside of parenting and at a loss of where to go in her life. She wasn’t depressed so much as she felt "bland".

As much as I talk about depression, I feel like there is a growing number of people who are not depressed, but are simply; so-so. It’s like a half way point between "excellent" and "depressed" and there is a possibility or danger of it swinging either way.

After her and I talked it out, she came to her own revelation that her happiness was always external. This doesn’t have to do with a job-related success; it has to do with her inner core.

As we talked further, she realized that she was still trying to mother the way she was when the kids were young. This is admirable although not completely necessary. It’s taken her a long time to let go of the infant control and direct her attention to the things she’d like to do with her life. It’s also sometimes tough for parents to accept that their children are redirecting their attention to other things besides them.

I suspect her "so-so" demeanor is because she feels stagnant. She seems unsure of whether she should still be watching them or doing something she loves and I also imagine she feels a bit selfish for even looking outside of it.

This limbo state of so-so is different from depression but a person can feel like they still didn’t accomplish much at the end of a day.

So how does a person get out of the state of so-so? Well I’m not sure there is a definitive answer but for me I had to quit caring what others around me thought so much. This was everything from cutting my fingernails short so I could play guitar, not just my piano to shutting out public opinion while working on songs. Her initial response to me suggested her husband’s job might impress me as a fellow woman envious of how well-kept she is. But I really don’t care, I mean I am happy for them having his job and all, don’t get me wrong…I really just wanted to know how her spirit was feeling.

Everything she told me she loved to do was cross-cancelled by a reason why she couldn’t do it.

My response back? If you have a passion, I mean gut-wrenching passion to do something…nothing and nobody should be holding you back. Go chase it…
Or, you can remain in a state of so-so. That’s up to you. ;)

Much love on all of you!
Karen :)

"The old, subjective, stagnant, indolent and wretched life for woman has gone. She has as many resources as men, as many activities beckon her on as large possibilities swell and inspire her heart." ~Anna Julia Cooper

2/17/10

My Light Bulb on Depression

I had a thought today. Good advice means nothing if a person's serotonin is too low.

Have you ever had the flu or some other illness and somebody says the equivalent, "Oh WOW! There was a shooting in our neighborhood tonight just a few doors down!" and your response is, "I don’t care." ? It’s because most likely, you are too sick to care about anything when your head is pounding and you have a high temperature.

Much like being sick, low serotonin will make a person feel this way. Serotonin (to simplify it) is your happy chemical and when it is low, you have the physical incapability of feeling like you care about anything. It’s at the center of most people’s depression. How do I know this? (hahaha like I am assuming you care…ha!) because I used to run a Women’s Health Facility and… I have been suicidal in my own depression. If you dig back deep enough into my blogs, I have covered this topic before. (I wish I could tell ya the links, but dang if I know where they are) :)

In my last blog, I touched briefly on how something like philosophy or advice can be absolutely true, but the person you are dispensing it to won’t hear it depending on where they are at. For most of my depression, I agreed with everyone who was giving me advice but I simply didn’t care. My doctor informed me it wasn’t my fault that I didn’t care, it was my body’s inability to care.

This was by far the largest light bulb to have ever gone off in the years of depression I was in. It was a turning point for me. It meant I could quit beating myself up and move ahead. Please understand, knowing this didn’t fix the issues which caused my serotonin to be depleted. What happens in the simplest terms is you basically have stress and anxiety which causes stomach acid. This acid kills everything else including serotonin (I won’t go into the scientific breakdown. It’s just a simple blip)

I basically reverse engineered my depression like this;

Depressed; low serotonin; stomach acid; stress/anxiety; root.

Otherwise known as getting to the root of a problem. Uh, Psychiatry…lol
The problem was, even after knowing all of this, I didn’t care about fixing it or knowing what my root problem was. Why? Low serotonin. This is why I believe psychiatry doesn’t work for some people when they are really, really down.

Here is something I did that I believe was my catalyst for digging my way back out.

There are a few things which boost your serotonin. (that is if you are well enough to care) Omega 3s are a big one; research online to find which foods have them and look into taking them as a supplement. Exercise boosts serotonin. This is why going for a walk when we are upset "clears the head" It’s quite literal! I starting running again every single morning without fail. Truthfully, I ran because I was angry at someone but I ended up enjoying it. ;)

And of course, meds (SSRIs) also boost this. I am no doctor so I’ll leave that between you and him. My opinion (strictly opinion!!!!!) is that meds can assist you in climbing up but once you are off them, if your issues are still there, you need to still get to the root of the problem. There are even cases where people remain on meds and the depression worsens. There are people who need to be on them, but again…I am not a Doctor-each case is or can be unique.

Once I started feeling like I could care about my problems again is when I could begin to tackle them. Boosting the serotonin again was just a step in that. But I felt really good knowing my low serotonin wasn’t my fault, just one more thing I had the ability to get a handle on. It’s good to know you can practically control at least something during depression especially if your body feels so out of control.

Oh and any opportunity I can get to preach the gospel of WATER…lol Our body is made up of 70% water. We need it. When I was severely depressed, I cried a lot and had massive headaches from dehydration which made me not care either. So, if you must sit and cry, may I humbly suggest doing it with a glass of water. :)

Take care of YOU!!!!
Karen :)

"Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live." ~Jim Rohn

2/15/10

I Can’t Find Myself, I’ve looked EVERYWHERE!

"There is another interesting paradox here: by immersing ourselves in what we love, we find ourselves. We do not lose ourselves. One does not lose one's identity by falling in love."

Lukas Foss was a German Composer. I have probably had more personal growth and confusion come from the words of Musicians. Beethoven always rides the fine line with me of genius and madman which I seem to gravitate to but then again music is my greatest passion. I am probably more drawn to him because he was mad. For many years, I thought that was unhealthy like when our parents tell us not to date someone because they are too eccentric and not stable enough to support us.

I think many Artists ride along a disturbing journey where they beat themselves up repeatedly, thereby learning the lessons over a longer period of time and experiencing some pretty nasty self-loathing. Lose yourself, find yourself, don’t care about yourself, reacquaint yourself with yourself; it’s all very emotionally-based and cluttered. I think I will never have the simple approach to finding oneself, but I do believe Foss is certainly on to something.

How many times have I looked all over this earth for myself? The Gurus always say, "Look within" which is a description that seems a bit too ego-based for my liking which is really a laugh considering we are, after all, looking for OURSELF. lol! I just think "Look within" is far too wide of a brush stroke for people who are truly lost. You go to some spiritual seminar on Friday night and you are driving home with, "The answer is in you if you will only look" and you are left think "WTF are they going on about?" See, as true as it is, it doesn’t feel like something practical a lost soul can really dig their teeth into.

When Foss said, "…by immersing ourselves in what we love, we find ourselves" I am not sure even that would have struck a chord with me when I was lost, but now after the fact (oh hind sight and its perfect 20/20 vision) I see how this is the ultimate truth. This is only because in looking back, it’s worked for me.

The other thing I have noticed is when I can look at myself how others see me, (or if you have a belief in a higher power, look at yourself how God sees you) it’s also helpful too. Our friends, parents etc quite often have a better grip on who we are.

I have for almost a decade been gradually immersing myself in what I love. Now take out the financial part where you can only do what you love in between making money. That isn’t what I mean. I believe it is possible to immerse yourself even when you are busy. If you are cleaning the house, you can crank music that feeds your soul. When you are surfing the net, you can go to sites that feed your passion. When you go out, you can choose a museum, park or a movie.

I think what has happened to me over the years is I have had my head held under the water by things I don’t love instead of immersing myself in things that are more indicative of me. It’s a sort of rebellion that I have had to implement in order to get past it. I’ve had to say no to going to dance clubs or movie theaters with films I don’t want to see. I have had to consciously refrain from political or religious conversations because every time I have one, I walk away feeling separated from others. Basically, I had to be by myself for a while so I could clear enough of this emotional clutter away. For so many years, I have been withdrawn in order to get reacquainted with me again.

It was an awful lot of alone time and a ton of loneliness before I felt brave enough to immerse myself in my passions again. But, it’s happening. Foss said we don’t lose ourselves by doing so and that "…one does not lose one's identity by falling in love" How true is that?

For me, it’s falling in love with the music and the art but more so LIFE…grabbing hold of what makes me feel alive and doing it with everything I have…and reserving the right to do absolutely nothing if I love to do that too. :)

Hope you are getting to know you. :)

Much love on ya,
Karen :)

Thought I’d add this by Beethoven as well, seeing as I adore him so much;

"Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy." Ludwig van Beethoven
 

2/13/10

Jumping in Leaves

We had a gorgeous, great big Maple tree outside our farmhouse that shed enough leaves in the fall for a really large pile. I wish I could revisit it sometimes but sadly, the whole farm is now a Toyota Factory. But, the human memory is an amazing thing where we get to store these childhood times and bring them up when we want.

Now what was I saying? ;) Think, think…Oh yeah…

This Maple tree also provided good shade for the lettuce in Gramma’s flowerbed. I think I have mentioned before that Gramma lived on one side of the house. The farmhouse had 20 places for children to invade (adults refer to them as ‘rooms’) but it was all over the 33 acres where we truly explored. I could write a whole book just going on and on about my farm. It was a haven for children. It’s kind of how I begin to picture heaven because children were crazy-free there. (oh which made me think of the time I wandered out the long lane and a woman picked me up and brought me back in MUCH to my Mother’s horror-don’t think that would happen these days, huh? Lol!) I laugh now…

With all the memories I have on the farm, that tree was a big highlight for me. It’s where my siblings and I actually got along consistently (they might tell you they were nice to me so they’d have one more worker to rake leaves…the corn field where I would get beat up and left for dead by them was another story) Our dog Crystal who was a gorgeous lab/german shep mix loved playing in the leaves too. She would retrieve all sorts of things we lost in the pile like Johnny’s glasses and a few other odds and sods. In the winter, she’d find lost mittens in the snow too. Bless her heart she retrieved stray eggs from random chicken nests (our chickens were free-range) and her soft mouth didn’t put a crack in them until she dropped them down on the cement pad outside the kitchen. But man she looked so proud of herself for ‘helping’.

The one thing you have to accept about living on the farm is that it isn’t all farm animals but there are weasels and snakes, spiders and other creepy crawlers. I am not afraid of any of them. I have a good understanding of what makes nature go round. I’m not about killing something I don’t like and I would gladly pick up a snake or let a spider walk along my arm. (mind you, that was Canada, I have been informed to let them be down here…ha!)

The only bad memory I have of a snake was one that was in and around our pile of leaves (‘cause bless their little snakey heart, they love leaves too!) The bad part stems from my Father killing this one who was around our pile. I won’t go into detail how he did it, but I will just say bless his big Daddy heart for wanting to protect us. I still wish he didn’t though.

Since the whole incident, I haven’t been willing to climb a big maple and jump in the leaves and this is because of the bad memory. I’ve done this a lot in life too. You become nervous about entering relationships when you’ve had a bad one. You question new people, thinking they are also a snake in the pile and that some massive attack is imminent and you just have to wait for it to come down heavy on ya.

But, slowly you get over the baggage and you feel like, "Great! This is a no-drama incident!" and you feel fortunate you can just play in leaves with no snakes. But I am having a new revelation (my revelations are ongoing and always subject to change) where maybe we didn’t look close enough at the snake to see what the deeper meaning was.

In this case, the snake wanted the exact same thing as we did (well, I don’t know if he wanted the camaraderie like us but you get what I mean) He was just venturing out and looking for shelter and warmth. He didn’t know our Daddy was territorial. He basically was in the wrong place at the wrong time and nobody cared about his ability to fit in with the ecosystem or how he was able to control the insect population.

Much of my life I have been making reference to people like in the music industry as ‘snakes in the grass’, but really it’s not fair to the snakes. Ha! But maybe when we think someone is out to get us or we think they are lurking, it isn’t as bad as we perceive. Maybe there are times we just didn’t look at their motivation properly. It seems like everyone just wants to fit in somehow, wants to be loved or just needs some shelter. I believe the problem is how they present themselves to us and how we present ourselves to them. Without properly communicating what we need, we can come off snakey, needy or with ill-intent. Our baggage and history can taint our true motivation and we offload that to the next guy.

What I have been trying to do (and I do mean TRYING-it’s a battle) is learn how to not only look at a person’s heart before their action but understand where they, (not to mention I) fit into this whole world. Just because someone comes off rough to me doesn’t mean they don’t want the same things. Just like a person covered in tattoos is not evil, neither is someone who has a bad temper or a brash demeanor. If I can get past the fa├žade long enough to see what their motivation is, I may find that they essentially want the same things out of life and that it may just be my intolerance to a different personality that causes my perception of them to infiltrate my life negatively.

This is very freeing to me. It means I don’t have to inherit their baggage!! That is a major step. I not only don’t have expectations of other people, but I feel like what makes someone different than me can draw me a bit closer to them in the spirit of tolerance (as a human…lol…I don’t have to live with them or marry them…hahaha) They have their place in this world, I have mine. We can build boundaries, but we certainly don’t have to build hate based on society’s perception. I love my Father and his heart was as pure as that snake’s, but I still wished they could have resolved their differences. :)

In moving forward, I don’t think I would feel concerned now about jumping in leaves (both in reality and metaphorically) because I am seeing how we are all just trying to get a nut, ya know? When the end of the day comes, we all are just trying to find some warmth and shelter.

Hope your weekend ROCKS!!
Karen :)

"We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same." ~Anne Frank

2/9/10

"Never, Never, Never Give Up!"

The title to the blog is a quote by Winston Churchill. Oh!! Karen quoted someone, quel surprise! Understand, my usual love for philosophy is about dissecting an excerpt but in this case, it’s a bit difficult to. The word "unless" doesn’t come after it.

Granted, I don’t know if he walked out of the room or what happened after saying it, but with the amount of ‘nevers’ in the sentence and no word within the passage that leads me to believe there was an ‘unless’ coming, I’m going to go ahead and assume he really did mean NEVER! ;)

I’m also going to go ahead and dissect it anyways, ‘cause, uh…that’s what I do over here. :P

When I look back over time at my use of the word ‘unless’, I would say I wished I was at least that intelligent in my life to use it more. No, I was the classier type. I would go straight for, "Yeah, but…" lol!

"Yeah, but…" is two things to me. You are saying to the person, "I am going to barely acknowledge what you said. I’m going to be in such a hurry to get to the point which I already formulated in my head before you made your statement, so I’ll toss you out a non-confrontational ‘Yeah’ so you think I actually heard what you said." The second part ‘but’; "That’s my liaison straight into why I can’t do what you just said."

What if we entered a conversation by saying to ourselves, "I’m not going to use ‘Yeah, but…’. Instead, I’m going to look at a few other considerations instead.

*Does the person saying this to me have my best interest at heart OR want me dead?

If someone is sending you out into a fight knowing full well you will die (and is even setting you up for a fall) the phrase, "Never, Never, Never Give Up!" should probably be ignored. But if your spouse who loves you (or a friend) tells you, "Never, Never, Never Give Up!" it’s because they love you and want you to succeed at life. So why wouldn’t we just do what they say?

*Do I already have a solution to the problem or do I need the advice?

How many times have I entered a conversation being a know-it-all and yet I am busy actually giving up.

I have always been the type of person who would rather bang my head off the wall instead of take the advice of someone who cares about me. Seems reasonable, right? I became so used to confrontation in my relationship dialogue that when someone like my Doctor, Pastor or good friend would say, "Never, Never, Never Give Up!" I would confront them the same way I would in my bad relationships; with a "Yeah, but…that’s easier said than done."

I look back at that ridiculous statement. You know what? Of course!!! Of course it’s easier said than done. When has anything really worthwhile been easy? Or better yet, how can we make it easy? I think the Churchill quote is so amazing because it’s meant to be that easy. "Love One Another" equally as easy. "Just Do It!" Easy. I think our "Yeah, buts…" are causing the hurdle. I think we have many external factors in our life which are definitely complicated, but I think we add another 75% worth of obstacles when we over think it or look for reasons why not to.

Yeah, but…how would I ever continue to dissect life in this way if I don’t over think absolutely everything that I come across? Hahahahaha!!!! I guess I view philosophy as getting to the root of the problem rather than adding more weeds.

ROCK ON!!! (uncomplicated)
Karen :)

"Never, Never, Never Give Up!" ~Winston Churchill

I wouldn't dare add another quote, oh no…not in this blog…but count on me Yeah Butting myself to death in future ramblings. ;)

2/7/10

Who are you Living For?

In order to just focus the topic, let’s say if a power greater than you is the answer, we’ll talk about your number two position. Otherwise, I’ll get a zillion answers from God to Satan on here and my point will be lost. ;) I don’t care about politics either so if you want to respond with, "Over half my paycheck goes to the ‘gaaaw-daaamed guvermint’" I will sympathize with you but will also ask that be saved for another blog on the same topic (uh, although it probably won’t be one I write) ;)

When I say, "Who are you living for?" I bring it up because this is a question I have asked myself over the years and my answer has surprised me.

When I was a child, I lived for my Mom. I was one of those children who provided her with copious amounts of artwork for the fridge and when that was full, it was taped to the cupboards. I did very well in school so I could show her a good report card. I would clean my room in order to surprise her. The great thing about living for her was she loved me a lot so it wasn’t as though I was in fear of her. As I got older, she had a live-in boyfriend who was the horror of my life (THAT I will write sometime in another blog) and my day-to-day was not living for him but became SURVIVING for her. All decisions were made based on Mom. After we got out of that hell-hole, Mom had many financial problems and I quit my last year of high school to go to work so I could help with money….the focus, still on her.

I then entered relationships that were truthfully all about them (omg, I won’t even start on those here or I will lose focus of the blog) I woke up almost every single day for a decade in the hopes of pleasing a significant other.
Now really, this is not meant to come off as me being some Mother Teresa and giving til I have no more. There are so many people who have actually given their lives which switches the question to; ‘WHAT are you living for?’
‘Why are we living and who or what for?’ seems to be the consolidated question at this point in life.

For me, I have a consolidated answer. The greater good.

I was mentioning before about the ME society. I grew up in the 80s in a time where it was all about ME. Being a Rock Star was what most of us musicians wanted to be. Then, 90’s Grunge came and smacked us all upside the head and nerds from all corners took over. I liked that movement if for no other reason than they were more inclusive with their fans. Then skip ahead to when being inclusive with fans made you rich so you became all cocky about it. You didn’t have to work as hard to make a good song like you did in the 80’s, you could just get it sounding better with better producers and shove it down your loyal fans throat and VOILA! More money and you could spend more time coiffing your hair again. What many of these new nerdy rock stars forgot? –how to write good songs again. The songs became an anthem for the ME Society and you didn’t have to craft anything, evoke emotions or take on a cause, all you had to do was preach ME to the masses and keep everyone selfish and sheepish.

Then oh what a shocker!! One by one, the audience was like, "Yeah this new album sucks, I’m only going to buy one or two songs from them" and the whole industry crumbles because sales are down. It was as though Grunge once again smacked everyone in the side of the head except this time, there was no take over anthem and no money for them to make "accidentally" from it. No revolution (which by the way, I hate that word—overused with nothing to back it up) no movement, no getting back to "US" again. It just stayed on ME but in a different venue.

For all its faults, the hippie movement at least did something inclusive for the greater good. I am personally too into heavy music to do that myself, but I can at least appreciate what they were going for. And it would seem what they were living for was the greater good. (albeit on a drug-induced plain)
They would live for each other, peace, love and some other warm fuzzy stuff. It’s so easy to wake up every day now, look out at the world and think, "Screw it, I am living for me and my dog" but why would there be over 7 billion of us here if we weren’t meant to be inclusive? If we were all just meant to simply survive, what would be the bigger point in that? At the end of each day we etch a stroke on the wall and think, "Phew, I survived today" ? That’s it?

I personally don’t buy it. I am always glad to SURVIVE the day, but what I would rather do is LIVE each day. Bob Marley’s birthday was yesterday, so I have been giving it a lot of thought. The quote that you may have seen where he said, "Wake up and live!" (I’ll put the whole thing below again for a reference) is so great. It’s a reminder not just to survive alone, but to be open to everything in our path. I don’t believe we live for others, or ourselves but the entire experience of the greater good. I don’t feel like each of us is a piece of the puzzle, but we are all artwork. Depending how we craft what we have been given is how we slot into this whole thing we call Earth.

And no, I am not smoking da GANJA! I did enough strange brew as a teenager to last the rest of my life. HA!

ROCK THE DAY!
Karen :)

"Life is one big road with lots of signs.
So when you’re riding through ruts, don’t complicate your mind.
Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy.
Don’t bury our thoughts, put our vision to reality.
Wake up and live!" ~Bob Marley (February 6, 1945 – May 11, 1981)

Hmm, he died at the beginning of the 80s. Ya suppose that’s when the whole thing started to go to pot? lol

2/5/10

Feeling Rejected

Ah, American Idol Season. I know a few people who got to the Top 100. Some took it as a learning experience and some felt like their dreams were crushed (as though the panel of judges and lip-synching guest judges…cough, cough are the Dream Fairies) Well, all personal opinions of that scenario aside, everyone is allowed to dream their own dream, right?

I have done a lot of auditioning as I have mentioned in past blogs but after doing some casting as well I know that nobody should feel rejected as there are too many factors why someone doesn’t get the part. I’ve seen a girl who was three inches too tall not get a part because the guy who was cast the week before was shorter than her so they gave it to the girl who was his height. But, people go home and reassess their body weight and start starving themselves into low self esteem.

The community at the Public Record has been fantastic. They submit parts hoping to get on a big Artist’s record, but they have been so let in on the process that they understand why something gets picked or not and understand all the pieces have to fit as a whole, so there is no rejection generally speaking. Plus, anything in the Arts is so subjective. Most have taken it to another level and become part of the bigger community where the sharing of ideas with like-minded people has become the bigger objective. They are the happy people!

Rejection is really prevalent in seemingly stable relationships, in work places and even parents are feeling rejected by their children, not just the other way around. To me, rejection has a lot of different meanings and interpretations, but practically, to me is has meant "I am not good enough."

This is a very familiar feeling for me in relationships. My parents always made me feel good about myself, but significant others have made me feel very inferior. Of course, the bigger truth is that it’s only me who can make me feel less than what I am worth, but geeze it’s really hard to feel good about yourself when you are always being slammed down. I am a big believer in encouraging someone into growth but we do live in a world where it’s just not like that. It’s lovely to think it could be that way, but let’s be real.

So if we have an understanding that the world is a very cruel place, we have a few routes we can take. We can wither and die, we can ignore it, put blinders on and stay neutral or we can use it, learn from it and grow. When someone attacks your esteem and rejects you for whatever reason, the options are give up, sink into a dejected state or collect the ugly pieces off the floor and assemble them into a dark art. The third option is what I have been implementing. ;)

"Consider the source"; a piece of advice I have heard intermittently throughout my life. Who is firing off the rejection in the first place? Now for American Idol, I personally wouldn’t put myself in that scenario because I don’t value the source enough to consider their opinion. Various job interviews I have had have gone both ways. Some employers made me feel worthless leaving the interview while others set me on a good path to continue learning.

But why is it in a relationship we aren’t also considering the source? If a partner is rejecting us, have we ever considered it’s them and not us? Why do we place all the blame on ourselves and continually beat our own head against the wall? Now I don’t mean for this to include the times we can improve, but a partner should not make you feel discarded.

"I am not good enough" was a motto I employed for too many years. I went through several stages of it like the intermediate "I am not good enough, ok fine…so do I just roll over and die then?" to "Oh, ok. I am not good enough for this, then I shall move on." To "I am good enough but you aren’t." to "Maybe I am good enough" to "Yes, I am good enough". But I think what is happening now is I was maybe putting too much emphasis on self when I think what needs to happen is I need to slot myself into the bigger system of things. Yes, you still need a good healthy esteem to do that, but I feel like our society has become less about the community spirit and more about the ME Society. What ever happened to acting as a team? I think a person in our community or The Public Record community is less likely to feel rejected because we all know we are part of something bigger and nothing "Me" is going on. If you want to make the world a better place...

I am not suggesting rejection isn’t a very real thing that many people suffer from (stemming from childhood too) but maybe it’s just more constructive to find our place in the bigger picture instead of trying to stand in a spotlight all the time hoping for the accolades. It’s natural to want respect, love, warmth and all the coziness but it’s my opinion that the best way to get all that is to give all of that.

And one step further, maybe by giving all of that, we shouldn’t ever be concerned with getting it back. I just think it could give the world a better vibe overall.

Just my two cents from the peanut gallery over here. ;)
Have an amazing DAY!
Karen :)

"What a wee little part of a person's life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself." ~Mark Twain